I first heard Bloodgroup almost exactly two years ago, when Holly, Berto and I caught them live at NASA in Reykjavik (see pic below). I didn’t know any of their songs, or anything about them. But for the next 12 months or so I listened to their albums Dry Land and Sticky Situation every single morning when I got to work. Sometimes twice. I was hooked. The fact that they did a live cover of “Safety Dance” (unfortunately not on the album, but luckily the one song I chose to shoot video of!) certainly helped.
Bloodgroup puts out some really impressive pop music. Lots of electronics and synths, and a great interplay between the male and female vocals – which I’m a sucker for, as you know. We were fortunate enough to catch them at a small venue in Seattle last year – the show was sold out due to the headliner, so we we emailed the band and, lo and behold, they got us on the guest list (try that with an American band. No really, try it, and let me know how that works for you). We got to watch them wrap up their sound check and even had a chance to meet everyone before the show, which was fantastic as they spent a lot of time hanging with us. And yes, they even covered “Safety Dance” again.
Dry Land is a pop album with a bit of a somber mood. The songs are deep and low, and the vocals sung with a lot of depth and emotion.
They say that I need the poison
Just to loosen up my arms,
But my lovers all agree
It’s just a matter of the heart.
We’ve shared Bloodgroup with a number of our friends, and though they don’t strike a chord with everyone, they seem to appeal a lot to those who have an affinity for some of the “darker” bands, like The Cure. My friend Tristen took to them hard, remarking at one point that he likes 20 of their 21 songs… only skipping “The Carpenter” (from Sticky Situation) when it comes on. Which ironically for a while was my favorite Bloodgroup song. We’re looking forward to catching them live at Airwaves again this year.
Much of Side A has a similar vibe – medium pace, but lyrics with some dark undertones. “My Arms” (quoted above) and “This Heart” are my favorites, both on that side and on the album as a whole. Side B takes on a bit of a different feel, opening with “Moonstone”, a dreamy Stonehenge-y sort of song (but without conjuring up images of Spinal Tap), before kicking up the pace significantly with “Overload”, which changes from almost hip hop pacing, to faster musical interlude… and then slowing it down… If there’s one thing I can say about listening to Bloodgroup, even on low volume as I often have to do at work, it’s that the music elicits an emotional response. Which is really what you want, unless you’re looking for music to numb your world like so much of the crap that’s out there. In which case, “go to the mall”.
Bloodgroup is back in the studio, and they even have a new track posted on Facebook (and presumably in other places as well). We’re looking forward to catching them live again this year at Airwaves, and guys, if you’re reading… “Safety Dance”, please!!! But hey, don’t wait for the new album; go out and check out Dry Land and Sticky Situation now, so you can tell everyone about how you were into Bloodgroup back in the day and sound all important. Plus get the benefit of hearing some awesome music with real depth.